Anthropology: A Student's Guide to Theory and Method by Stanley Barrett

By Stanley Barrett

Stanley R. Barrett's Anthropology has lengthy been a optimal sourcebook for college kids, delivering a finished evaluate of either thought and approach within the self-discipline. during this up to date moment version, Barrett's dialogue of the origins and evolution of anthropology continues to be, augmented by means of sections addressing contemporary adjustments and ongoing questions within the field.

The moment version of Anthropology provides vital new fabric on questions of tradition as opposed to strength, Max Weber's suggestion, the possibility of utilized anthropology, and the increase of public anthropology, whereas in brief relating the anthropology of globalization. As within the prior variation, Barrett continues to be devoted to exploring the impression of postmodernism at the perform and thought of anthropology, positing that it's a formless and finally short-lived technique. together with case experiences to illustrate real-world purposes of the theories mentioned, Barrett's Anthropology is still a necessary textual content for college students and academics of anthropology.

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Additional info for Anthropology: A Student's Guide to Theory and Method

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Psychology British social anthropology has historically been quite opposed to psychology. Another way of stating this is to say that social anthropology has been anti-reductionist, which means opposed to reducing the explanation of social life to other disciplinary levels such as psychology. This perspective can be traced back to Durkheim, who declared that any time a psychological explanation is provided for a social phenomenon we may be certain that it is wrong. American cultural anthropology has been much more receptive to psychology, especially the focus on the individual.

A century or two ago, when people lived more isolated lives in pockets around the globe, it may have made more sense to evoke culture as the explanatory tool. In today’s world, however, the pace of geographical mobility and the impact of mass communications have eroded the integrity of individual cultures and thrown people of various ethnic backgrounds together as never before. In this situation, culture continues to play a role, but it does not tell the whole story. My argument is that it quite possibly never did, because it simply is too crude and it attempts to explain too much.

Just as some types of anthropology, such as general anthropology and studies influenced by sociobiology, bridge culture and biology, some types of psychology, especially the experimental or ‘rat’ variety, bridge personality and biology. Although the gap between psychology and anthropology has been especially wide in Britain, the rationale is not very sound. Consider, for example, the assumption that anthropology focuses on the group, not the individual. It is probably correct, as Durkheim and others argued, to assume that the group is greater than the sum of its parts, that it can- 36 Anthropology: A Student’s Guide not be reduced to individual psychology.

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